Buddhism essence: ENLIGHTENMENT
Siddhartha Gautama, known as the Buddha, is said to have achieved full enlightenment, known as perfect Buddhahood. After destroying the disturbances of the mind, and attaining concentration of the mind,
Buddha attained three knowledges:
Insight in his past lives
Insight in the workings of Karma and Reincarnation
Insight in the Four Noble Truths
Insight in the Four Noble Truths is being called awakening. Awakening is also being described as reaching Nirvana, the extinction of the passions whereby suffering is ended and no more rebirths take place. Visakha Bucha / Vesak Day The holiest Buddhist holiday celebrates the birth, enlightenment and entry into Nirvana of the Buddha.
Contrary to popular belief, to understand the essence of Buddhism and benefit from its philosophy, practitioners do not have to be versed in ancient mantras and spells, nor do they need to seek the protection of a magical tattoo or amulet. Buddha is not a god to be worshiped, but rather a teacher to be honored.
The real point of Asaha Bucha day is to honor Buddha’s first and fundamental sermon, which explains that the Dharma Wheel – an analogy for our life cycle – comprises the “spokes” of birth, illness, death and rebirth.
The wheel turns relentlessly; life is a constant cycle of suffering caused by our desires, dependencies and attachments. In order to break free from the cycle of pain and suffering that is life – not to be reborn again into the same cycle – and thus obtain the ultimate truth of enlightenment, detachment and renunciation of the unessential and harmful things in life must be practiced.
At the same time, it is important to avoid extremes and instead seek a middle path, willfully and consciously living by the basic five precepts: to abstain from
Asaha Bucha Day
Marked by the full moon of the Thai lunar calendar’s eighth month, Asaha Buchawas designated to celebrate and perpetuate the first sermon that the two-month-enlightened Buddha gave to his first five followers over 2,500 years ago.
The four truths are presented within the Buddha’s first discourse, Setting in Motion the Wheel of the Dharma (Dharmacakra Pravartana Sūtra).
- “This is the noble truth of dukkha: birthis dukkha, aging is dukkha, illness is dukkha, death is dukkha; sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief and despair are dukkha; union with what is displeasing is dukkha; separation from what is pleasing is dukkha; not to get what one wants is dukkha; in brief, the five aggregates subject to clinging are dukkha.”
- “This is the noble truth of the origin of dukkha: it is this craving which leads to renewed existence, accompanied by delight and lust, seeking delight here and there, that is, craving for sensual pleasures, craving for existence, craving for extermination.”
- “This is the noble truth of the cessation of dukkha: it is the remainderless fading away and cessation of that same craving, the giving up and relinquishing of it, freedom from it, nonreliance on it.”
- “This is the noble truth of the way leading to the cessation of dukkha: it is the Noble Eightfold Path; that is, right view, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness and right concentration.”
The words “Asaha Bucha” are derived from the ancient Pali language and literally mean “worshiping fourth month”. The fourth month of the ancient Indian lunar calendar is equivalent to the eight month of the Thai lunar calendar. It is for this reason that in Thai, Asaha Bucha is also referred to as wun pen deuan bpad – the full-moon-day of the eighth month. It is one of three lunar-based Buddhist holidays in Thailand. The other two are Makha Bucha Day – typically a full moon in February, sometimes in March – which commemorates the Buddha’s sermon to 1,250 followers; and Visakha Bucha Day – typically a full moon in May, sometimes April – which celebrates Buddha’s birth, enlightenment and death, all in one. Celebrations and ceremonies in Buddhist temples are generally the same for all three days.
After the offerings, blessings and sermons during the day, there is a climactic moonlight candle procession during which participants, carrying a lit candle, three joss sticks and a lotus flower, encircle the temple’s main Buddha hall three times.
The number three in Buddhism refers to the “triple gem” and symbolically represents the Buddha, his teachings (Dharma) and the clergy (Sangha). This is the reason for circling a temple or crematory three times and also prostrating three times in veneration of the Buddha or a senior monk.
The day after Asaha Bucha is Khao Phansa, literally the “rains retreat”. This is the customary time for laymen to ordain as monks. For this three-month period, monks traditionally retreat to temples because the rains make it difficult for them to meditate in the forest or ask for alms on a regular basis. To ensure the monks are able to sustain themselves, laypeople make larger-than-usual offerings during Khao Pansa. Aside from food, large candles have been the customary form of offering, a practice dating to times before the invention of electricity.
During Khao Pansa, monks stay in the temples, disciplining themselves by following hundreds of precepts which dictate that they abstain from everything, including growing eyebrows to even singing. This is in contrast to the five basic precepts that laypeople attempt to follow as outlined in the Buddha’s principle sermon.
Khao Phansa Day: the beginning of the three months Buddhist ‘lent’. Khao Phansa means “to enter”, the period in which monks will remain in one place during the rainy season. It is also the time when young men should enter the monk hood for spiritual training. Many Thais feel that a man cannot be considered a mature adult unless he has been a monk. For Khao Phansa day there is a nationwide alcohol abstinence slogan: “Khao Pansa Ngote Lao“. “Ok Phansa Day ” to come out of lent falls on October .
In Myanmar this month is called Wazo. The Month of offering Sacred Yellow Robe Festival. The Myanmar month ” Wazo ” coincides with July and is the fourth month of the Myanmar lunar Calendar. The month of Wazo, however, marks the beginning of the Buddhist Lent of holy meditation and pious deeds. Starting from the Full-moon day of Wazo and ending on the full-moon day of Thadingyut the lent lasts about three months. During this season many paddy fields in the lower Myanmar are inundated for many days because of heavy rains and overflow of the river water. It was for this practical reason that Gautama Buddha enjoined his disciples not to make long journeys but to confine themselves to the precincts of their monasteries where they meditate on the Great Laws of existence. If they must go, they can go for short distance but must be back to their monasteries the same evening for sleep. Marriage during the lent also is, like overnight travelling, taboo.
Makha Bucha Day, which falls on the full moon of the third lunar month, commemorates the Buddha’s ordaining of 1,250 monks who had arrived unannounced from afar only seven months after the Buddha began his teachings. It is also the date the Buddha delivered his Fundamental Teachings – just months before his death.
73% of the people on Phuket are Buddhist. There are 37 Buddhist temples in Phuket, 31 of which are of the Maha Nikayaorder and six of the Dhammayuttika Nikaya order. There are also 11 Buddhist monk camps on the island. Wat Chalong is the most important of the Buddhist temples of Phuket (Thai:วัดฉลอง or วัดไชยธาราราม), located in thetambon Chalong, Mueang Phuket district. It is dedicated to two highly venerable monks, Luang Pho Chaem (หลวงพ่อแช่ม) and Luang Pho Chuang (หลวงพ่อช่วง), who with their knowledge of herbal medicine helped the injured of a tin miners rebellion in 1876.
- Visakha Bucha / Vesak Day The holiest Buddhist holiday celebrates the birth, enlightenment and entry into Nirvana of the Buddha.
- Asalha Puja Day Commemorates the Buddha’s first sermon in the Deer Park in Benares and the founding of the Buddhist sangha.
- Buddhist Lent Day (Wan Khao Phansa) This day marks the beginning of the Buddhist ‘lent’ period, a time when monks are supposed to retreat to their temples while new life springs forth. Friday, 3 August 2012
Khao Phansa Day: the beginning of the three months Buddhist ‘lent’. Khao Phansa means “to enter”, the period in which monks will remain in one place during the rainy season. It is also the time when young men should enter the monk hood for spiritual training. Many Thais feel that a man cannot be considered a mature adult unless he has been a monk. “Ok Phansa Day ” to come out of lent falls on October 30th, 2012.
- Por Tor Festival – late August / early September, often known as the ‘Hungry Ghosts’ festival, with offers of local delicacies, turtle-shaped cakes, flowers and gifts to ghosts, held each year in Phuket City. August Por Tor Festival @ All Chinese Shrines on the Island. The ‘Hungry Ghosts’ festival is an important merit-making event for the ethnic Chinese. Special food, flowers and candles are offered to ancestors’ altars in order to ‘feed the ghosts’ that are said to have been released from hell for the month.
- Vegetarian Festival – Nine Lunar Month late October, an event with clear Chinese origins, where many locals choose to eat only vegetarian food for nine days. Phuket’s Vegetarian Festival also features a range of street entertainment, parades.
- October 30th, 2012 Ok Phansa Day: the end of the three months Buddhist ‘lent’. Khao Phansa means “to enter”, the period in which monks will remain in one place during the rainy season. It is also the time when young men should enter the monk hood for spiritual training. Many Thais feel that a man cannot be considered a mature adult unless he has been a monk. “Ok Phansa Day ” to come out of lent, three months after
- Thod Kathin Presentation of Monk’s Robes after Rains Retreat. Wednesday, 31 October 2012
- Loy Krathong 12th lunar month November 21st Loy Kratong or Full Moon Day – November, with a procession of small floats, decorated with colourful flowers, leaves and candles. Loi Krathong Water Festival – Loy Kratong. The origins of Loy Kratong are unclear, but it is believed that it started in Sukhothai (north of Bangkok) one of the most powerful cities in Asia, around 800 years ago. On this particular night, on nearly every expanse of water, be it a river, lake or the ocean, you’ll notice thousands of lights drifting across the water like fairy dreams.
“All that we are is a result of what we have thought, it is founded on our thoughts and made up of our thoughts.”
What we are, then, is entirely dependent on what we think. Therefore, the nobility of man’s character dependents on his”good” thoughts, actions, and words. At the same time, if he embraces degrading thoughts, those thoughts invariably influence him into negative words and actions.
In Buddhist doctrine the evolving consciousness (Pali:samvattanika-viññana) or stream of consciousness (Pali: viññana-sotam, Sanskrit: vijñāna-srotām, vijñāna-santāna, or citta-santāna) upon death (or “the dissolution of the aggregates”), becomes one of the contributing causes for the arising of a new aggregation. At the death of one personality, a new one comes into being, much as the flame of a dying candle can serve to light the flame of another. The consciousness in the new person is neither identical to nor entirely different from that in the deceased but the two form a causal continuum or stream. Transmigration is the effect of karma(kamma) or volitional action. The basic cause is the abiding of consciousness in ignorance (Pali: avijja, Sanskrit: avidya): when ignorance is uprooted rebirth ceases.
Buddhism knows the existence of the ten realms of being. At the top is Buddha and the scale descends as follows: Bodhisattva (an enlightened being destined to be a Buddha, but purposely remaining on earth to teach others), Pratyeka Buddha (a Buddha for himself), Sravka (direct disciple of Buddha), heavenly beings (superhuman [angels?]), human beings, Asura (fighting spirits), beasts, Preta (hungry ghosts), and depraved men (hellish beings).
What does Buddha mean? A Buddha is someone who has attained Buddhahood. This means that he complete and full relief on their own has achieved without a teacher who gives him advice and points the way. In the Mahayana tradition, can ‘Buddha’ also refer to a follower of Buddha.The name Buddha is a title. Anyone who reaches Buddhahood, thus deserves the name Buddha. The name Buddha is often called the founder of Buddhism Gautama Buddha! The word Buddha in the Pali language encompasses the terms ‘The Awakened’, the ‘enlightened’ and the one with superior knowledge. Everyone, both a man and woman, has the potential to Buddha be and the Buddhahood within themselves to realize. Buddhahood is not something easily and quickly be achieved. It requires great dedication over many successive lives.
What does a handstand position, also called a Mudra Buddha?
Each mudra / hand position has its own meaning. There are many mudras, but the most common hand postures are the following: Buddha with two hands on the chest with the index finger and thumb tips pressed against each other: This posture symbolizes the turning, or in motion, the Wheel of the Doctrine. This attitude especially when you see images that the historical Buddha, Shakyamuni proposals in the time of the first preaching, and images of the celestial Buddha of the Center of the Universe, called Vairochana.
Buddha with right hand down with the fingers down and palm facing the body: This posture symbolizes the ‘touch of the earth. “The attitude refers to the time that the historical Buddha attained enlightenment and while the Earth as a witness called on. Also this attitude typifies the celestial Buddha of the East.
Buddha with right hand down, fingers down, palm facing out: This is the hand position of blessing and generosity. He shows the historical Buddha in his daily activities of blessing, generosity and detachment. Also hear this attitude in the celestial Buddha of the South.
Buddha with hands crossed across the chest: Buddha with both hands folded across chest. The handstand is a symbol of forgiveness.
Buddha with both hands folded lying in the womb: This Buddha symbolizes the gesture of inner peace and meditation. Also there is a meditating Buddha to raise awareness, and that the entire material world around us no longer counts and the environment is no longer observed. It shows the historical Buddha in daily meditation. In addition, this approach connected with the celestial Buddha of the West.
Buddha with right hand raised to chest height, with the palm facing out: This is the hand position of reassurance. Also, this Buddha keeps away for you evil and bad events. He belongs to the historical Buddha in his daily activity of reassurance and the celestial Buddha of the North.
Buddha with right hand raised, palm facing outward with the thumb and index finger: This is the attitude of reasoning, teaching and discussion. Usually you see this handstand with representations of the historical Buddha in many scenes of statements. This is also a gesture which was characterized as a teacher Buddha and his teachings that he made speeches and discussions used to power his words off.
Happy Buddha, Lucky Buddha. Almost everyone knows the happy well-fed laughing Buddha, lucky Buddha, fat-belly Buddha, lucky Buddha. This is actually not a Buddha but a Chinese wise lord. Poe Tai Shang Ho, called ‘Buddha’. The Buddha had found happiness in itself and stands for: happiness-wealth-prosperity-prosperity & happiness.
Tempanon This is also called a gatekeeper, and is originally from Thailand. They guarded the temples there and ensure that all negative energy remains outside. If you put her at the door than they protect you and your house and everything therein. She greets you with her hands folded against her chest. “I salute you.”These are Tempanons of origin always in pairs for a temple or house or entrance.
Name list of Special days
Makha Bucha celebrates the Buddha’s first sermon in to his disciples.
Chakri Day commemorates the founding of the current dynasty by its first king, Rama I.
Songkran 13 April
Coronation Day Celebrates the day when the current king Rama IX was crowned in 1949. Saturday, 5 May
Royal Ploughing Ceremony An ancient royal rite held in Thailand to mark the traditional beginning of the rice-growing season Thursday, 10 May
Visakha Bucha / Vesak Day The holiest Buddhist holiday celebrates the birth, enlightenment and entry into nirvana of the Buddha. 4 June
Asalha Puja Day Commemorates the Buddha’s first sermon in the Deer Park in Benares and the founding of the Buddhist sangha. Asalha Puja (known as Asanha Puja or Asarnha Bucha in Thailand, is a Theravada Buddhist festival which typically takes place in July, on the full moon of the eighth lunar month. It commemorates the Buddha’s first sermon in the Deer Park in Benares and the founding of the Buddhist sangha. The day is observed by donating offerings to temples and listening to sermons. The following day is known in Thailand as Wan Kao Pansa; it is the first day of vassa, the Theravada rains retreat. Celebrated in Thailand on the first full moon of the eighth lunar month, Asanha Bucha Day marks the first public sermon given by Buddha, which took place at Deer Park in Benares, India. In this initial sermon, Buddha presented the Four Noble Truths to five ascetics. While the ascetics believed in self-mortification, he taught that the cessation of desire was the key to enlightenment. Upon hearing this message, the five men reached enlightenment and became the first Buddhist priests or Sangha. The day also marks the beginning of Vassa, the Buddhist lent period also known as the Rains Retreat. Ceremonies are held in Buddhist temples throughout the country. Elaborate wax candles are lit and kept burning throughout lent. In Saraburi, monks from the local temple will walk through the town with their alms bowls. On this day, townspeople will put flowers into their bowls instead of food, and the monks offer these flowers at the temple in honor of the Buddha. Asanha Bucha Day has become a popular day for young Thai men to enter the monkhood.
Buddhist Lent Day (Wan Khao Phansa) This day marks the beginning of the Buddhist ‘lent’ period, a time when monks are supposed to retreat to their temples while new life springs forth.
H.M. The Queen’s Birthday Her Majesty the Queen’s birthday is a national holiday, also serving as the country’s Mothers’ Day as well. 12 August (Substitute)
Chulalongkorn Memorial Day Celebration of the death anniversary of Thailand’s one of the most revered kings, Rama V. Tuesday, 23 October
End of Buddhist Lent Day (Wan Awk Phansa) This day marks the end of the Buddhist ‘lent’ period or the Rains Retreat. Tuesday, 30 October
Thod Kathin Presentation of Monk’s Robes after Rains Retreat. 31 October
Loy Kratong While it is not marked a national holiday, it is an evening when Thais pay respect to the goddess of the waters by floating candlelit offerings on any and all waterways around the kingdom. 28 November
H.M. The King’s Birthday His Majesty the King’s birthday is celebrated throughout the country 5 December and is also the country’s Fathers Day
Thai Constitution Day Celebrates the date in 1932 when the country was granted its first constitution. 10 December
Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival Mooncake promotions herald this Chinese festival, during which Chinatown fills with stalls. September
End of Buddhist Lent Day (Wan Awk Phansa) This day marks the end of the Buddhist ‘lent’ period or the Rains Retreat.
Thod Kathin Presentation of Monk’s Robes after Rains Retreat.
Chulalongkorn Memorial Day Celebration of the death anniversary of Thailand’s one of the most revered kings, Rama V.
Loy Kratong While it is not marked a national holiday, Loy Krathong is a major celebration in the evening when Thais pay respect to the goddess of the waters by floating candlelit offerings on any and all waterways around the kingdom.
|January||1||New Year’s Day||M/T|
|February||15||Chinese New Year Day||M|
|April||26||Prophet Muhammad’s Brithday||M|
|6||Chakri Memorial Day||T|
|28||Visakha Bucha Day||M/T|
|July||26||Asaranha Bucha Day||T|
|27||Buddhist Lent Day||T|
|August||12||Her Majesty the Queen of Thailand’s Birthday||T|
|31||Malaysian National Day||M|
|September||10||Hari Raya Puasa||M*|
|October||25||Substitute of King Chulalongkorn Memorial Day||T|
|November||17||Hari Raya Haji||M*|
|December||5||His Majesty the King of Thailand’s Birthday||T|
|31||New Year’s Eve||M/T|
T=Thai National Holiday, M=Malaysia National Holiday *Subject to Change